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Be like Tom - with the Boonenberg collection

Tom Boonen
(Image credit: La Passione )

If you wish to channel that inner Flandrien, La Passione has a new range paying homage to one of the greatest cobble riders.

On the unforgiving pavé and sharp gradients of Flanders, legends are made. Some of cycling’s most iconic moments have happened on Belgian roads. And one of the native riders that best encapsulates the spirit of what it means to be a Flandrien cyclist is Tom Boonen.

During his professional career, the towering Belgian had presence, pace and power. His attacks were daring and courageous on the cobbles, were always a feature of Boonen’s riding. The Belgian is an iconic rider and favourite of La Passione cofounder, Giuliano Ragazzi.

When the opportunity presented to use Boonen’s experience for the purpose of La Passione’s product development, Ragazzi did not require convincing. The result is La Passione’s Boonenberg collection.

Tom Boonenberg

(Image credit: La Passione )

An authentic collection

For both rider and brand, this collaboration has to be faithful. La Passione is not a traditional retail apparent brand. It doesn’t conform to traditional physical retail conventions. La Passione has always been a digital cycling company, interacting directly with its customers. Real gear, delivered directly, to real riders.

Echoing this brand ethos is the Boonenberg collection. It is not something that was created by product planners, with a prominent cycling personality simply swishing their signature onto it at the last moment.  

Tom Boonen was personally involved in the product development and La Passione wanted to interpret all his knowledge and experience, regarding high-performance cycling activewear. The Boonenberg range is true to its name, which symbolizes the Taaiberg, a 500m section of Flemish cobbles with a gradient peaking at 14 per cent.

Boonen asserted himself often, on the Taaienberg. Such was the frequency and dominance of his attacks on this brutal section of Flemish cobbles, that cycling fans renamed it the Boonenberg.

Tom Boonenberg

(Image credit: La Passione )

Master the toughest surfaces - in comfort

Riding on Belgian pavé is tough. Racing on it is brutal. The frequency of bumps and square edges that your tyres roll over. There’s no hiding. You need a garment that will stay securely in place, absorbing the impacts and supporting your comfort.

Boonen’s palmarès is unquestionable. Multiple Paris Roubaix wins and many other triumphs in the one-day Belgian classics. He knows how punishing the cobbles can be – and which garment designs work best at increasing rider comfort.

La Passione wanted to capture the romance of pavé riding, with a classic look. That’s why the Boonenberg collection features subtle styling, although its fabric technology and construction are highly advanced, delivering excellent breathability and dynamic comfort.

As a tall rider, Boonen knows that pedalling leverage can be an issue with poorly designed bibs. La Passione’s Boonenberg integrates compressive aero fabric around the waist and along the sides, to allow optimal pedalling freedom for your core.

Riding cobbles can trigger material creep and to avoid this annoyance, La Passione’s designers have a 75mm ‘cobble grip’ elastic around the Boonenberg bib’s leg hem. This makes the bib lighter and keeps it securely in place.

Your seat transfers most of the pavé punishment when exploring those classic cobble routes. The Boonenberg collection uses a Cytech pad with thermoforming, featuring different padding densities.

The pad’s variable density structure support you throughout the entire pedal stroke motion and takes the edge off those cobbles.

La Passion’s design team understands the value of form and function, coexisting. Evidence of this is the gold graphic detailing on its Boonenberg TB4 garments.

Keeping it digital - but real

As a digitally native brand, La Passione operates close to its customers. The Boonenberg collection brings riders closer to their heroes, in an authentic way, with a classically styled, but robust and advanced garment range.

Tom Boonen would not add his signature to a range that couldn’t cope at the Paris Roubaix. La Passione would never deliver cycling gear, that was pure marketing, to its direct customer audience.

La Passione isn’t burdened by the prospect of having to manage dealer stock inventories. Or insufficient product planning by retail fashion buyers. It prefers to reinvest in creating more value and truer riding experiences, for its customers.

With the Boonenberg collection, you get an elegant, robust and innovative range of road bike apparel, benefiting from the influence of a true Flandrien icon.

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Lance Branquinho is a Namibian born media professional, with 15-years of experience in technology and engineering journalism covering anything with wheels. Being from Namibia, he knows a good gravel road when he sees one, and he has raced some of Africa’s best-known mountain bike stage races, such as Wines2Wales and Berg&Bush.